Hi folks, a quick one for you today. I’ve been awfully busy writing ebooks, I know that’s no excuse for not posting but it’s the best I can come up with at short notice. I’ve written two on aGermany recently, the first covering that tumultuous period of the German Revolution 1918-23 and the second the fateful alliance between Hitler and Stalin from 1939-41 and their combined destruction of Poland. They cover some vital aspects of modern German history in an accessible way, without losing any depth so do check them out. If you are studying, look at the new Explaining History free study notes here.
Hi there and happy 2013, and this is just a quick entry to say that:
A) Read The End by Ian Kershaw, it’s good.
B) More importantly, Read Thinking the 20th Century by Tony Judt, it’s a brilliant memoir/intellectual history of the 20th Century, it’s nothing short of beautiful.
C) If you’re studying Germany and want some quick, reliable and readable notes, get my new downloadable FREE course at Explaining History.
It’s free. Did I mention?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.
It’s probably going to be quite good, Laurence Rees hasn’t made a bad TV show thus far, but the title of the BBC’s new Hitlerthon, Hitler’s Dark Charisma leaves me cold for a number of reasons. Firstly, given the abundant number of themes and discourses within European History, German History, 20th Century History and even Nazi or Second World War History, why oh why must we habitually return to this tired old nag again?
The title once again places Hitler’s supposed talents and charisma at the heart of the debate, however, there are more questions than certainties over his ability, in the words of Ian Kershaw, a close collaborator with Rees on The Nazis: A Warning From History (which I greatly enjoyed) Hitler was a man of quite average and mediocre talent.
Debates about his hypnotic powers detract from more important structural debates about the appeal of Nazism, and steer viewers towards hackneyed old chesnuts, creating broad generalisations about the Third Reich.
When the book Guilty Men was a published in the summer of 1940, during Britain’s most disastrous period of the war, it’s verdict was clear: Chamberlain was a coward and a fool for negotiating with Hitler. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and the hindsight that Michael Foot and his co-writers exhibited was contradicted in the early 1960s by AJP Taylor who similarly criticised Chamberlain, but was more sympathetic towards the situation he found himself in. Richard Overy has written far more complimentary accounts of Chamberlain’s conduct of diplomacy at Munich, emphasising the problems that the Prime Minister faced. A large, over stretched and poorly defended empire, weak rearmament and a small and unready army, financial overstretch and a general public overwhelmingly against war until 1939. Overy makes the point that Chamberlain’s real achievement was that he bought enough time for Britain to sufficiently ready herself for a war that Chamberlain knew was coming, and far from being a ‘guilty man’ he should be seen as a leading statesman.
For more on the Munich Crisis, click here
I will soon be adding a special diplomacy section to the further reading page on Explaining History
In August I’ll be starting part one of my free online six part 20th Century History study, examining the essentials of modern history in a thematic way for students and enthusiasts. We will explore in six modules the fundamentals of the last 100 years from war to ideology and culture to science, and I hope you will join me. To access the course in August, sign up here, and the first 100 sign ups will get my forthcoming Explaining 1917, Six Questions on the Russian Revolution answered.